Lojban Central

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Lojban Central is a term coined while language development was still active (early 1990s), to refer to the leadership of The Logical Language Group, both in its administrative role and in its role as guiding language development. The term was first used by John Cowan[1][2] and was popularized by Nick Nicholas[3].

The term includes, in the first instance, Bob LeChevalier and Nora LeChevalier. One could argue that it includes pc and John Cowan (who coined the term) as well. John tends not to agree (citing his Organization in email headers as Lojban Peripheral for a long time), and used the term to refer to Bob and Nora very early on[4]. Nevertheless, he used [5] it in the sense that included himself. It is perfectly legitimate, of course, for membership in Lojban Central to be fuzzy (as in Fuzzy Logic). And since it is invoked in a fashion similar to the Usenet Cabal of yore, membership in it is probably also fairly nebulous.

The political undertones of the phrase (introducing an us-and-them tone) are clear, and are not necessarily welcomed by the referents of the phrase: the LLG has always insisted that the language is controlled only by the community (once the baseline is achieved), and happily the language community has not been plagued by the kind of dictatorial control exemplified by Schleyer and his Volapük. It did, after all, originate in a schism provoked by just such control.

Many of the contentions people have around Lojban Central originate in the supplicatory model.


  • xod:
    Lojban Cabal? We meet on alternating Wednesdays and the meetings are held in English. I have taken "Lojban Central" to mean the LLG membership, but 'Central isn't necessarily the locus of actual language development, and nobody thinks it has any coercive authority, or has necessarily unified opinion on anything. Hence the term lacks the political resonations that might arise with, say, the Central Committee of a Communist Party.
    • nitcion:
      Admittedly, the definition above reflects the author's perceptions as they were formed in the early '90s, when there was certainly a clear sense of at least power of veto and coordination emanating from a Lojban Central. (Well, that was my sense, anyway.) The publication of The Complete Lojban Language, and more recent developments render this perception partially obsolete. There is, however, still a board (with its membership recently surprisingly augmented!), and there are still administrative decisions being taken. So while the resonances aren't as strong as the CCCP, they aren't zero, either. One message, for example, speaks of Lojban Central as an entity with vetting power, distinct from the LLG. The line it takes is by no means universally held in the community (yes, we know who posted it :-) ); but some people in the community are inclined to think this way... (For a possible example, see the currently bottommost entry in baseline.)
  • And:
    To me, Lojban Central has resonances of Moscow Centre, Soviet espionage HQ in the novels of John Le Carre. Hence it has a sense both of something Soviet, operating by diktat, and something secret and closed to outsiders. The term is jocular of course; Lojbab is hardly Karla!
  • Lojban Cabal = Voting member-only mailing list?
    • nitcion:
      You be the judge. Shoe's on the other foot now, given I'm now a member of it! (The mailing list, that is, not necessarily xod's Cabal...)
      • xod:
        The mailing list, of course, is only a front for the outer layer of the Cabal. We want you to think that's who is in charge. The real power lies elsewhere...
        • The wives?
          • The Illuminati? Sure, you like to think they use TLI Loglan, but...
        • Jay:
          hrm. i've love to see shea and anton's illuminatus trilogy translated. that'd be an absolute mindfuck. i'll pay for a completed translation. bids? :)
  • xod:
    .i mi'e xod .i ru'a le fetspe cu natfe vlipa .iki'ubo za'a fy. pu'i fanta vu'enai le zu'o le nakspe cu penmi